Rebecca Solnit

I became acquainted with Rebecca Solnit’s works through my voracious reader wife, Kathleen. She found a book in the library in the small town of Georgetown, which is in the Sierra Nevada ‘gold country’ foothills of California. We were spending several months with our oldest daughter, who lives there. The book’s title is “A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster”. Here is Kath’s blog post on Solnit’s book:

What struck me about the book is how it fits with my project “Kingdom or Empire”. She analyses the ordinary person’s response in the midst of disasters, like the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, 9/11, New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and several others. She shows the Kingdom-like, caring communities that develop out of the chaos where the normal structures and institutions of society collapse and disappear.

These are practical illustrations in a supposed secular setting of what the Kingdom of God might look like. Solnit does not fit the pattern of most others of my Net Prophets. She is not theologically trained nor is she minister of a religious community. But, from wherever it has come, she exhibits an innate Implicit religious understanding of what it looks like when a community operates out of a mutuality and love instead of dominance, greed, and power.

Breaking with what I have done with other Net Prophets I will not list her other videos beyond the ones where she discusses “Paradise”. She is a writer with a wide range of interests. But I need to be transparent that I find her primarily insightful for my project in this one book.

Wikipedia page

Personal page

Book page at Amazon

Interview by Believe magazine

Others of her videos which I have not listed individually.
This is for benefit of persons who want to look further into what she has to say.


Interview with California Reads Part 1   April 2012  16:06

Interview with California Reads Part 2   April 2012  14:57

In the aftermath of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, or the Loma Prieta Earthquake, author Rebecca Solnit collected hundreds of interviews and spent time in various disaster zones. What she found is contrary to what the media often reports: in times of crisis, humans have shown themselves to be deeply communitarian, altruistic, brave, and improvisational.

Here Solnit, author of California Reads selected book A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster, shares her thoughts on how we function within and what we really need from society. She speaks about our common desire for love and agency, a desire to contribute a voice and to be heard. While many believe that disasters turn us into chaotic and stampeding herds, Solnit asserts that times of crisis provide rare openings during which she has witnessed astonishing acts of humanity. These openings, she says, provide the building blocks for a truer and healthier democracy.